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NFL 2013 Power Rankings – Week 16

This is shaping up to be one of the greatest week 17s in NFL history. The NFC East is still up for grabs with the Eagles and Cowboys playing each other and the NFC North is still up for grabs with the Bears and the Packers playing each other. The sixth seed in the AFC is wide open with four teams all with a puncher’s chance to grab it. If you love football, week 17 will be your dream come true. On to the rankings.

32. Houston Texans (2-13) (32) – The Texans just happened to have the distinction of being the team that Peyton Manning tied and subsequently broke the single season touchdowns record against. So, the season hasn’t been all bad. Next game: @ Tennessee Titans (like it matters)

31. Oakland Raiders (4-11) (31) – I don’t really have any analysis for the Raiders…or any of these bottom dweller teams, really. Its tough to find things to talk about when a team wins four games in a season. Next game: vs Denver Broncos

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) (29) – This team is only a rebuilt offensive line away from being a tough team to beat. The division should be interesting if this team can be competitive again. Next game: @ New Orleans Saints

29. Atlanta Falcons (4-11) (28) – Way to give the fans a great game in the last game at their stadium guys. Spectacular job. I can’t imagine that a few injuries could make this much difference to a team that almost went to the Super Bowl last year. But hey, at leas they got to lose in the last Monday Night Football game of the year. Next game: vs Carolina Panthers

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11) (27) – The Jags didn’t play a bad game here. They had a 13-6 halftime lead but let the Titans take the lead back in the fourth quarter. Give them credit, the Titans aren’t a slouch team. Next game: @ Indianapolis Colts

27. Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1) (25) – Good thing the Vikings decided to show up. Yeah, I know the Bengals are good but Andy Dalton can only hurt you if you let him.Next game: @ vs Detroit Lions

26. Washington Redskins (3-12) (26) – The Redskins battled to the very end. You have to give them credit for that. With a coach likely on his way out and a backup quarterback, they didn’t have to play hard in this game and almost beat a Cowboys team thats a win away from winning the NFC East. Next game: @ New York Giants

25. Tennessee Titans (6-9) (30) – The Titans aren’t much better than the Jaguars but thats not because the Jaguars aren’t good. Both teams have a ways to go before they can be considered contenders though. Next game: vs Houston Texans

24. Cleveland Browns (6-9) (23) – For most of the season, Josh Gordon couldn’t be stopped. Now against a terrible Jets secondary, Gordon looked extremely mortal. It feels weird to call a guy that had six catches for 97 yards mortal but he was. He mad almost no impact on this game and thats why the Browns lost. Next game: @ Pittsburgh Steelers

23. Miami Dolphins (8-7) (15) – Few teams needed a win more than the Dolphins did and they shit the bed. No other way to put it. The Bills are a beatable team and the Fins had more than enough motivation to bring it and they got shut out. Luckily they still have a shot to get the sixth seed in the playoffs against a beatable team. Next game: vs New York Jets

22. Detroit Lions (7-8) (14) – I’ve had it with defending the Lions. They had the division wrapped up. Jay Cutler got hurt, Aaron Rodgers got hurt, they had the most talented team in the NFC and they blew it. Jim Schwartz is clearly doing something wrong in Detroit and he needs to go. Next game: @ Minnesota Vikings

21. Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) – I can’t believe after whats happened this season that the Packers are still alive but they are. As everyone knows, in sports anything can happen so these guys can rally and get into the playoffs. Next game: @ Chicago Bears

20. Buffalo Bills (5-10) (24) – The Bills didn’t have anything to play for and took it to the Dolphins. They were extremely physical and ran the ball well. They had a game plan without their quarterback or top receiver and executed. The Bills did a very good job against a potential playoff team. Next game: Next game: @ New England Patriots

19. St Louis Rams (7-8) (22) – Some would say that the Rams aren’t a good team and even though I agree, they’re not far off from being one. Good teams run the ball well and play good defense. The Rams do both of those things. If they can get consistent play from the quarterback position, they’ll be decent. Next game: @ Seattle Seahawks

18. New York Giants (6-9) (21) – I’m conflicted with this win. First off, I needed the Lions defense to play well for fantasy purposes, as well as Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Then, as a Giants fan, I wanted the Giants to lose a little to get a better draft pick. Whats the point of winning a meaningless game? But at the end of the day, I like to see my favorite teams win. Next game: vs Washington Redskins

17. New York Jets (7-8) (20) – Rex Ryan reportedly told the team he was going to be fired. I don’t know how much truth there is to this or if it motivated the team but it sure looked like it did. Geno Smith played well and the secondary didn’t look as terrible as it normally does. I personally don’t think Rex should be fired and I think if Woody Johnson has his way, he won’t be. Next game: @ Miami Dolphins

16. San Diego Chargers (8-7) (19) – The Chargers are remarkably still alive in the AFC and will be rooting against the Dolphins and Ravens, but they need to take care of business first. Who better to play than a division rival? Next game: vs Kansas City Chiefs

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) (18) – Who would have thought the Steelers, who had such a terrible start, would now be in a position to make the playoffs? Its a long shot but they can do it. All they need is Miami to lose to the Jets, Baltimore to lose to the Bengals and San Diego to lose to the Chiefs…and win their own game against the Browns. All totally possible. Expect Steeler Nation to be extra loud this week at Heinz Field. Next game: vs Cleveland Browns

14. Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) (17) – In the preseason, I think I picked the Eagles to finish third in the division and I should probably eat my words. They look good (offensively) and they’re peaking at the right time. Shady McCoy is probably a big reason I won my fantasy league and if not for Peyton Manning and Jamaal Charles, he would probably be in the MVP conversation. They have one more hurdle to jump though…on the road. Next game: @ Dallas Cowboys (SNF)

13. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5) (16) – I don’t have a legitimate reason but I love the Bengals. Maybe its because I really liked Andy Dalton at TCU, maybe its because Gio Bernard is Haitian, maybe its the jerseys or maybe its just that I want Marvin Lewis to do well…but I really like this Bengals team and I want them to get a first round bye. It doesn’t hurt that the Pats are the other team fighting for the two seed. Next game: vs Baltimore Ravens

12. New Orleans Saints (10-5) (12) – The reason the Saints stayed at 12 in my rankings is because even though they have a tough time on the road, they played a good game against a good team in terrible conditions and even then, it took a late comeback with less than two minutes for them to lose. They easily could have won but thats how these things go. Now they have to sack up and go home to take care of business. Next game: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

11. Baltimore Ravens (8-7) (7) – The Ravens have a tough task ahead of them. They have to go on the road to play a tough team. I just don’t see it. I know I said that the Ravens have this “team of destiny” aura around them and they did. But teams like that don’t get blown out at home by the Patriots…especially a shorthanded Patriots team. I don’t care how good a coach Bill Belichick is. Thats a piss poor performance and teams like that don’t make the playoffs. I’m sorry Ravens fans. Enjoy your offseason. I hear Boca Raton is nice this time of year. Next game: @ Cincinnati Bengals

10. Chicago Bears (8-7) (10) – Wow. You had the chance to take the division away from a team with their best player out for who knows how long and you let the Eagles put up a 50 burger on you? Excuse me? Look, I know the Eagles offense is good. I know this. But come on…be competitive. Do something. Tackle someone. Shady McCoy is still running through gaping holes in your defense…and I’m totally grateful for it. Do better Chicago. This is your chance. You have home field against the team you NEED to beat. Do it. Next game: vs Green Bay Packers
9. Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) (5) – The Chiefs have the fifth seed locked up. They don’t even need to win their next game. I could see them resting their starters and preparing for the Colts. Next game: @ San Diego Chargers 

8. Dallas Cowboys (8-7) (11) – Can someone forward this to Jerry Jones and the rest of the Cowboys. I want to speak to them directly. Are you reading? Good. Look, I don’t like you and I hope my Giants fandom is apparent enough to make you hate me. That way there’s balance in this world. But as much as I hate you, I hate being wrong more. I picked you to win the division and godammit, you better not let me down. You have the talent, go out there and take care of business in the House That Jerry Built. Next game: vs Philadelphia Eagles (SNF)

7. Arizona Cardinals (10-5) (9) – The Cards probably shouldn’t have won this game. Carson Palmer literally tried his best to throw it away but the defense held strong and kept them in it with big plays. Palmer did throw a late touchdown to Michael Floyd with2:13 left to play, so he wasn’t all bad. Did you sense the sarcasm there? I hope you did.Next game: vs San Francisco 49ers

6. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) (8) – This is a really dangerous team. Andrew Luck has turned this team into a group of giant killers this season and they really play well against tough teams. When they most likely play Kansas City in two weeks in the playoffs, we could see a similar result. Next game: vs Jacksonville Jaguars

5. New England Patriots (11-4) (6) – I was really hoping to bash the Pats because I expected them to lose to the Ravens but they won so decisively that I really have nothing to say. They were dominant in all facets of the game. Its really on the Ravens for this one but the Patriots still had to show up and do the damage. Next game: vs Buffalo Bills

4. Carolina Panthers (11-4) (4) – This Panthers team is really good, I don’t know if you’ve heard. Sold team. Luke Keuchly might win the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and Star Lotulelei is playing as well as almost any defensive tackle in football. If they had a secondary, they’d be unstoppable. Cam is unreal and Riverboat Ron keeps finding ways to win. Next game: @ Atlanta Falcons

3. Denver Broncos (12-3) (3) – Peyton Manning did Peyton Manning things. 400 yards and four touchdowns later, he’s now the single season touchdowns record holder. Can we put him in the Hall now? Can we skip the retirement and the five year waiting period now and just give him a gold jacket? Next game: @ Oakland Raiders

2. San Francisco 49ers (11-4) (2) – Michael Crabtree is the best thing to happen to Colin Kaepernick since they figured out Larry Bird stole the mighty wings and he was cleared of any wrongdoing. This team is versatile. They run well, pass well, run play action well, defend well…they do it all and they’re dangerous. And they gave their fans a good send off for Candlestick Park…unless they end up hosting a playoff game. Then the point is moot. Next game: @ Arizona Cardinals

1. Seattle Seahawks (12-3) (1) – On a scale of 1-10, how surprised would you be if you found out that Pete Carroll and the Seahawks decided to lose to the Cardinals on purpose to make things more difficult on the 49ers? Not very surprised right? I’m just saying. Russell Wilson hasn’t lost a home game since he was at NC State and he loses at home to the Cardinals? Hmmm. Next game: vs St Louis Rams

There you have it. With a full slate of Sunday games for the first time all year, Week 17 should be a great day for football. There will be plenty of intrigue, lots of story lines and hopefully some close, entertaining games. Questions and comments can be directed tos_talouis@yahoo.com or follow me on twitter @FunnyManStan
The Queens native handles all things football on KeepingItRealSports.com. Stan attended Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens and SUNY Old Westbury. He's spent his post graduate career in different parts of the media, as an editorial assistant, a production assistant and a board operator. He can be followed on twitter @FunnyManStan and routinely performs standup comedy all over New York City.

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